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Hope Unchained (Light in the Empire)

By Carol Ashby


Can the deepest loss bring the greatest gain?

Rome’s conquering army took Ariana’s family and freedom, but nothing can take her faith in Jesus. When she rescues a tribune’s wife from certain death, her reward is freedom and a chance to free her brother and sister. But first she must catch up with the slave caravan before they vanish forever, and tracking them from Dacia to the coast seems impossible for one woman alone.

Discharged from the legion with a hand crippled by a Dacian knife, Donatus faces a future without hope. When the tribune asks him to escort Ariana on her quest, it’s the only work he can find. It means four weeks with a Dacian woman and a gladiator bodyguard, but it takes money to eat. A man without options must take what he can get.

But a lot can happen in four weeks. Even battle-hardened men can be touched by love and forgiveness, and it’s easier to face an enemy with a sword than to face the truth. When his moment of truth comes, what will Donatus choose, and what will that mean for both of them?

Book Takeaway:

When the future we planned becomes impossible, hope, forgiveness, and love can open a future better than we ever dreamed when we trust God to show the way.

Why the author wrote this book:

In True Freedom, Leander risked dying to keep Julia from suffering what he feared his beloved older sister Ariana had suffered twelve years earlier. When people who’d read True Freedom were telling me they’d love to know the story of Leander’s sister Ariana back when she, her brother, and her sister were first made slaves by the Roman army, I thought it was a great idea. Leander often talked about how God could work all things together for good and prayed that had somehow happened for his sisters. While writing Hope Unchained, I’ve loved figuring out how to tell Ariana and Donatus’s story, where despair is replaced by hope, forgiveness, and love.


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